1851 Navy Colt Single Action Revolver

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by brianzx7, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. brianzx7

    brianzx7 New Member

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    Hello
    I recently inherited four antique pistols and I have have a question regarding one of the colts.

    I did research and found that it was made in 1958, but I am trying to find out what the "M" that is engraved on the upper part of the trigger guard is where I see a lot of these that have "36CAL" etched(left side above trigger). I can post a pic if necessary.

    Thank you to anyone who knows what this means.

    ~Brian
  2. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    might consider calling colt and asking
  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Pictures are always nice.
  4. brianzx7

    brianzx7 New Member

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    Here is a pic of the left side where the "M" is etched. There also seems to be a "K" etched on the trigger guard forward of the trigger?

    All serial numbers match.

    Thanks
    ~B

    Attached Files:

  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    It could be many things. The Colt assigned ID stamp of the person who assembled and/or tested the function of the revolver is quite likely.

    Craftsman shops in many industries have long allowed a "Journeyman" or "Master" level "skilled trade" craftsman to identify his (or his/her, in today's world) work with his mark (sometimes engraved; more often stamped). As manufacturers such as Colt, following the early 19th. century lead of E. Whitney's interchangeable (or nearly so) parts started mass producing products they would often assign a letter or numeral punch to an employee with instructions to apply it to a certain place on every product that he was physically involved with.

    If the product proved defective at a later date, the manufacturer could trace it back to the responsible employee. This practice was (and still is) very common in the firearms industries of both the USA and Europe.

    After a period of time such records tend to get lost or destroyed. Most manufacturers have no interest in telling the public the meaning of such marks, as they are deemed to be private info that was never intended for the public.
  6. brianzx7

    brianzx7 New Member

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    Thanks! It just seemed odd as most 1851's I have seen have 36CAL etched(stamped) in this place where the M is.

    I guess I could pay money to Colt to get a history on it which may tell me more? I just have a hard time paying 100+ bucks for some minor information. I am surprised they don't put their records on their website so we can just search. Can't really say it has anything to do with privacy if they will give it to you for a fee. I guess it's all about the almighty dollar.

    Thanks again for your insight.
    ~B
  7. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    You got dat right.

    Colt has a sliding scale. There used to be a 2005 pricesheet on the web, but it's gone now. Running on memory here.

    Modern double actions - 75.00
    Single Action Army - 100.00
    Cap and ball Single Actions - 200.00
    Factory engraving - additional fee
    Originally shipped to someone famous - additional fee

    It appears that the more valuable the gun would be with a provenance, the more they charge.
  8. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Old Colts are not my field of strong expertise. The serial # relative to being relatively early or late production could be a factor. I think they made about 190K of them (Navies) over about 22 years.

    I did take a quick look through R.L.Wilson's "Colt and American Legend" for pictures of non engraved percussion revolvers in the Navy and Army series. It seems sometimes their is a cal. marking and sometimes just a letter. {See pages 38,52, & 64.}

    You are right about it being about the money. I am confident that the Colt History Dept. makes a substantial contribution to Colt Industries' profits.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  9. brianzx7

    brianzx7 New Member

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    Well thanks again for the insight! If I ever get a couple hundred bucks that I don't know what to do with, I will hand it over to Colt for the info. Until then, the antique guns will continue doing what they have done my whole life......hang on the wall. :)

    I also have an english officer's flintlock that I would like to know more about, but I know that is even harder because the lack of markings/serial #s on the piece. Any suggestions on how to tackle that?

    Cheers!
    ~B
  10. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Post some pictures!
  11. brianzx7

    brianzx7 New Member

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    I will start a new post with the heading "English Officer's Flintlock".

    ~B
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